In a world that is swarming with specialized publications, the Centre Commercial Magazine inaugural issue comes hot off the press and into our laps. The team behind Veja and Centre Commercial, a Parisian sneaker company and collective creative think-tank, bring us the ultimate publication a beautiful mix of journalism, inspiration, art and wanderlust guided pieces. We sat down with Hugo Charbit and Sebastien Kopp, the men behind the project, to talk travel, drinking, shoes, relaxing and of course, magazines.
We Are The Market: What inspired the launch of Veja & Centre Commercial?
Hugo Charbit & Sebastien Kopp: We created Veja in 2005 with one purpose in mind: to show that it was possible to combine great design, fair trading and environmental involvement in the same project. The Veja sneakers are made of wild rubber from the Amazonian forest and organic cotton grown in the Northeast of Brazil. Our leather is tanned with acacia extracts. All of the Veja shoes are made in South Brazil, close from Porto Alegre, in good social working conditions.
From what started as a travel adventure in Brazil, Veja quickly became a brand. We are now working with selective shops around the world.
A bit more than 2 years ago, we opened Centre Commercial, a space which aims to be a catalyst for projects and initiatives we love. Our ambition is to invite and collaborate with artists, writers, and designers that have a new vision to share, and mix it with brands that are made in France, the UK, and the US.
Centre Commercial is infused by our varied influences. The brands we work with have a social or environmental DNA . We carefully select fashion lines which are made of ecological materials and crafted through local production. The space also has a micro-bookshop, and features a selection of vintage furniture and organic cosmetics. These are the companies that the magazine was birthed from.
WATM: Tell us, what do you aim to achieve with the magazine? What types of features can we expect to see?
HC & SK: Centre Commercial aims to be a place where people can meet and get inspired. So does the magazine. Ties between people and projects (very) often arise where we dont expect them.
While going from trade-shows to press releases events and parties at Centre Commercial, we met a bunch of great young journalists we knew we wanted to work with. We had a lot in common and thought the best way to develop our ideas and aesthetic would be via a printed object. At the time of the quickness of the Internet, we wanted to develop a slow project. Within 200 pages of international coverage, in-depth investigations, interviews, and photos, Centre Commercial magazine offers a global perspective on fashion, lifestyle, ecology and culture. We want to feature topics that are too often invisible to the eyes.
Having heard of the project, the best French bookshops have been contacting us, but we printed only a few thousand pieces of the first issue, so we selected 30.
WATM: What are your favorite pieces in the current issue?
HC & SK: We wanted to gather talents and give them freedom. Thus, the magazine could not have any advertising. For this first issue, we have talked with Michael Williams from A Continuous Lean about the way brands were creating history and tradition, even if they dont have one.
We have listened to rocket-man Alexandre Guarneri, the founder of Homecore, who went through so many amazing things.
We went to Finland, in a futuristic hole 500 meters underground to see and tell the story of governments that will bury nuclear waste for 100,000 years.
We shot a fashion series as a tribute to Vienna painter Egon Schiele.
We froze while investigating the awesome cold water surfers that chase wild and isolated waves in the Great North.
WATM: Where is your favorite place in the world to read a book or magazine?
HC & SK: An old rocking chair in Corsica.
WATM: Where do you go when you want to get a drink? Recommend a Parisian summer hang out to us.
HC & SK: In Paris, the Canal Saint Martin is probably one of the best areas to hang out, drink wine and meet random people.
WATM: What are you most looking forward to this summer?
HC & SK: We are hosting the launch party of our magazine on Thursday, June 27th. The magazine will be freshly printed and just delivered from Italy. We look forward to having a lot of our friends coming to Centre Commercial and celebrate.
WATM: Where was the last place you traveled to?
HC & SK: Deep Finland ! We rented a car, and as they have speed limit machines every 3km, it took us a while from Helsinki at 50 miles an hour! We went to Onkalo for the magazine. This is where the Finnish built their nuclear facilities as well as a 500 meter deep hole which looks like it came from a Stanley Kubrick movie.
WATM: What is your next travel location?
HC & SK: Next travel? We will probably go to Bangladesh, the dark side of the fashion industry with some talented journalists and photographers. There are many articles to write there as well as many things that need to change. But once you start to know us, you'll realize we are not at all in a hurry.